Monday, February 27, 2012


Cause anytime you bring up lady rights on the interwebz....  You know you're in for a world of trouble, from trolls.

I've debated writing this post for awhile, especially I'm approaching my two year wedding anniversary (still have no idea how that happened already) and this article was my impetus.

When I was a kid, little feminist I was, I doodled what my first name would like with my current boyfriend's last name, not for any real desire of marriage, but more of to get myself used to having a different name. Then I read Full Frontal Feminism. Yes, I know. (It was before the much more in depth tomes I've since consumed). For all the issues aside, it actually forced me to look at what I was doing. And realized I had lost my damn mind. Even though my father is/was abusive, it was my freaking name. I loved it. I loved my initials. I love the possibility that I might be related to Albert Schweitzer (which would be uber cool) and so on.

I got very contrasting opinions on my decision not to change my name. My maternal grandmother smacked a wooden spoon on the counter in frustration and spat that it was disrespectful. My brother thought it was cool because my husband, in his mind, has a boring last name and Schweitzer was much cooler.

Once I got married, however, I've had very conflicting attitudes myself. I've been addressed as Mrs. Hubby's Last Name and it felt like nails on a chalkboard. But then when all of my coworkers and most of my friends have gotten married and changed their names, I've started to wonder if I was crazy not to do so. I get the appeal. It's easier to make address labels (seriously, Shutterfly, you need more accommodating designs), it has a cozy ring (no pun intended) to it and it would be nice to have a unit name. These are things I haven't even admitted to friends of mine. I'm the ultimate feminist in my group and sometimes, the label can be stifling because you are pigeonholed like any other label. I love being a feminist, but when I started grappling with this, I wondered where other feminists were, where other women  were who struggled with this choice. I know one friend who didn't change her name. One.

I see the benefits and downsides of both sides, but what really frustrates me is that when this topic is brought up, it quickly dissolves into either militant fist pumping or people trying to stomp all over women's decisions. I would like a meeting in the middle. A meeting where people can honestly admit their struggles and not be judged. Judging women who changed their name as betrayers to the cause isn't productive and it's insulting to their agency and criticizing women who didn't makes them feel alienated and frustrated that their choices weren't taken seriously.

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